Well, I think I am about to become one of Oklahoma City’s biggest fans. We have just spent 7 days in this amazingly uber cool city and I loved it. My understanding is that Oklahoma City is a little underrated however this is a must visit destination and for all the right reasons. There is an abundance of culture, history and charm in this very friendly and stunning town.
There are several ‘districts’ in OKC such as Automobile Alley, the Boathouse District, Bricktown, Deep Deuce, Paseo Arts District, the Asian District and the Historic Stockyards all of which I visited and enjoyed thoroughly. These areas are accessible on foot (my preferred mode of transport – the old foot Falcon) or via the free Downtown Discovery bus service.
Oklahoma City, founded and built in a single day is the capital and largest city in the grand state of Oklahoma. Think of Oklahoma and you imagine wheat, June bugs, cattle, ‘oh, what a beautiful day’, chaps, corn, BBQ stands, steak houses, flat lands, cowboy hats, Will Rogers, Route 66, prairies, ‘high steppin’ strutters’ and ‘surreys with the fringe on top’. Americas most loved stretch of road, Route 66, is located in this wonderful state and Oklahoma also has the longest section of the ‘Mother Road’ to its claim. And I am guessing that if Oklahoma had a signature dish it would surely be steak! Interestingly however, whaling is illegal in Oklahoma and on a more somber note, Oklahoma is still also identified by the heinous terrorist bombing carried out in 1995.
* Experience Oklahoma City:
Stockyard City – This is the authentic American West where you will find western boots, hats, belt buckles, spurs and huge ass steaks! The Cattlemen’s Steak House is also located here. An iconic landmark and Oklahoma’s oldest restaurant where cowboys have been going to for over 100 years. And no guesses who has actually dined here……..John Wayne! That is correct! Duke! The greatest American legend himself. Theoretically, there could be no better recommendation than that. And the Cattlemen’s seriously have THE best steaks ever!!
It was also here at the Cattlemen’s that I tried my first Lamb’s Fries which are not to be confused with Lambs Fry! These are lambs testicles ‘peeled’, breaded and fried. Also known as ‘cowboy caviar’ or ‘tendergroins’ (a personal favorite name of mine). Anyway, I manned up….well girled up actually, and chowed down. I think about twenty came out on the plate and I have to say they were very enjoyable.
And then there were two……..
American Banjo Museum: This is a beautiful little one of a kind gem in downtown Oklahoma City. This dinky little museum celebrates the history, heritage and unique sound of one of Americas most iconic instruments. This gorgeous museum of two levels is stocked full of banjo’s and should definitely be listed as a national treasure. It is located in the Bricktown Arts District – 9E Sheridan Ave.
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum: An impressive showcase of the glory of the American West with sculptures, over 28,000 works of art/Indian art works and artifacts, history and exhibits. If you also happen to be a ‘cowboy and western movie buff’ (and in particular a John Wayne fan) then this wonderful museum will indulge you no end. Again, this is another must see when visiting Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum: This sacred and beautiful memorial is thought provoking and equally heartbreaking. It truly honors the victims, the survivors, the rescuers and those whose lives have been forever altered on that tragic day in April 1995. Invest time here both day and evening.
OKC Centennial Land Run Monument: Located in the Bricktown District this majorly impressive monument commemorates the opening of Indian land in Oklahoma. Free standing bronze sculptures immortalize the moment in history when, at the precise stroke of noon, a cannon was fired signaling an avalanche of riders and wagons all in a race to stake their claim on a parcel of land. Grand, imposing and pretty darn spectacular.
Ice Hockey: I think I have become ice-impassioned and so much so, that I am beginning to plan our adventures around the USA to accommodate ice hockey games! Now, I love my AFL. There is no denying that fact however I find ice hockey may possibly be my one true love. It has taken me half a century to discover it and nothing compares. It is difficult to explain but if you have developed a feverish obsession for ice hockey too, then you will completely understand where I am coming from.
Oklahoma City Barons
* Markets and some very quirky little stores: There are so many great places and far too many to list so I will go with my favorites of the trip.
* H&8th Night Markets – located around N Hudson Ave in downtown OKC. These night markets, which run from March to October, are a great place to hangout. A super friendly street festival feel with more food trucks than you can count, people, live music and craft beer….oh and lots of well behaved leashed dogs.
* Verdigris – I have a soft spot for any odd unconventional little place where recycling, reinventing and repurposing holds center stage. Just loved this store which is located 415 NW 7th Street. Did I find a couple of eclectic items to bring home? Of course!
* Drink Oklahoma City: Uncharacteristically (not) I have listed some fab micro-breweries:
Tapwerks, Bricktown Brewery, Re-Public Gastro pub, Battered Boar Brewing Company plus the Will Rogers Lobby and Bar. There are so many great spots to pull up a stool and grab a drink in OKC so an open mind to exploration and an adventurous spirit are the keys when out and about.
Beer + a bull + a ‘Warey’ = a night out in Oklahoma…….
Coffee: Oklahoma City certainly has plenty going for it but coffee??……..well hell yes! And great coffee at that from a funky little place called Elemental Coffee Roasters. Just bliss having the perfect coffee.
Coffee Elemental style…..
* Eat Oklahoma City: OKC has some great food and restaurants on offer which makes it the perfect destination for a serious foodie. From classic southern comfort food to fatty briskets, amazing steaks, Asian fusion (do try the Vietnamese Curry Frogs Legs) to Italian, burgers to fab food trucks and the Macaroni Pony (a three cheese mac and cheese, chipotle pulled pork on jalapeno cornbread) and more. I tried an awful lot of food in OKC and probably gained about 10 pounds so it would be impossible to list all but my absolute favorites.
One word…….Steak!!! Cattlemen’s Café.
Steak, beer and good company…….oh, and you know who
Sweets and Eats: I loved this little ‘no frills’, cheap and cheerful place. Lunch is served between 11am and 1:30 pm only. You line up, order at the counter, find a seat, wait for your name to be called, grab your meal from the servery then sit back and enjoy. It is basic in concept but everything is fresh and homemade. Do try the chicken pot pie or the chicken noodle soup. Located 110 N. Robinson Oklahoma City.
Old School Bagel Café: Bagels made fresh daily the old school way – boiled then baked. These are perfect bagels and they are well complimented by the great coffee served up by the fab and very hip staff on N Robinson Ave. The perfect ‘pick-me-up’ whilst skulking around the streets of Oklahoma City.
Kitchen No. 324: Wow!! This very chic restaurant is located in one of Oklahoma City’s most historic buildings. Great menu offering fresh, locally farmed and sustainably sourced food. The staff are very attentive and the service great. Bonus – small but classic and very well selected wine list. Loved the food and would return again…..and again. Located 324 (as the name suggests) N. Robinson OKC.
‘We know we belong to the land
And the land we belong to is grand’………..
And Oklahoma has certainly been that. Grand! This is one place that I will long remember visiting. And that’s the great thing about travel. Sometimes its just you and that big wide wonderful world waiting xx